Last week, the Hastings Council issued its staff report on the resource consent application of Andy Coltart and Australia-based landowner Garth Paterson to intensively develop a 25 hectare property along the Tukituki (indeed, 8.5 hectares is the riverbed and river channel itself!), at one of the river’s most scenic and recreationally enjoyed locations.
[See previous BayBuzz post here on the proposal.]
Terrific news! The staff has recommended — courageously, in our view — that the application be denied … full stop.
Two principal reasons:
1) Staff concludes that the landscape and recreational values at Horseshoe Bend (about 5k up the river from the Red Bridge, along Kahuranaki Road) would be so adversely compromised by such intensive development that mitigation measures could not achieve the necessary protections required by the District Plan and the RMA.
2) Further, staff agues that granting this application would create a precedent conducive to additional, similar development along the Tukituki, which would run contrary to both existing and pending rural development policy for the District, which aims to protect the rural character and amenity of the Tukituki area.
[Here is the full report.]
As stated, this is terrific news for the Tuki. So far …
But now the staff recommendation goes before the Hastings Council Hearings Committee on Thursday, February 18th, where anything might happen.
The hearing is triggered by the efforts of adjacent landowner, Bruno Chambers, who filed a robust submission opposing the resource consent. Well done, Bruno!
I should note that this consent was processed by HDC under limited notification, which BayBuzz opposed. Ironic that the staff has decided that indeed the proposal affects a considerable stretch of the Tukituki, as well as recreational users … and consequently, one might infer, many additional parties after all!
The staff report, citing advice from the Regional Council, unfortunately was dismissive of potential issues surrounding water extraction (cumulative effects), wastewater management, and stormwater management. It would appear that the Regional Council takes a rather myopic view of the proposal, as opposed to stepping back and looking at the overall impact that consenting this project would have on development all along the Tuki.
One might hope that the Regional Council (our environmental protector) by now would have a bigger picture in mind when it comes to protecting HB rivers. But alas!
Fortunately the Hastings Council staff rose to the occasion this time, and provided the broader perspective on the Tuki the Regional folks lack.
Now we’ll see how Hastings Councillors on the Hearings Committee deal with the matter. Hopefully they’ll back the staff on this one.
If you possibly can, please attend the Hearings Committee session at 9:30am on Thursday the 18th at the Hastings Council Chambers. Let’s show our support for Bruno and the staff recommendation.